Wrestlers often end up finding love behind the scenes. Often wrestlers end up benefiting from their alliance in a professional capacity, being moved up the card or even being pushed to the main-event. Ask yourself if Triple H would be such a big deal in WWE if he wasn’t with Stephanie McMahon. That’s just one example, but we aren’t looking at men benefiting from women in pro wrestling. Let’s flip the script and check out 10 female wrestlers that benefited from dating a top wrestler. (Video)
10. Nikki Bella
The more accomplished of the Bella Twins opens this list. Nikki Bella was pretty much a sideshow act alongside her sister Brie, before the duo found love. We’ll talk about Brie a little bit later. After Nikki Bella started dating John Cena, she became the face of the Women’s Division almost overnight. WWE decided to make the Bella Twins the face of their foray into reality programming on the E Network. Total Divas was technically an ensemble show, but it was obvious that WWE wanted to pay specific attention to the twins, especially Nikki, whose relationship with Cena made for entertaining viewing. In addition to become one of the biggest mainstream stars in the company, Nikki was rewarded with strong runs in the division, which resulted in her having the longest reign with the Divas Championship. Her reign lasted a whopping 301 days and surpassed AJ Lee’s historic reign. With the Divas Championship dead in the water, no one is ever going to surpass Nikki’s reign with the butterfly belt, so her name is now forever etched in history. In addition to all of this, WWE went ahead and spun the twins from Total Divas and gave the world Total Bellas, which focuses almost solely on the twins. Nikki is now retired, but before hanging up her boots, she had a strong run with the company and was one of the toughest tests that Ronda Rousey faced when she was WWE Raw Women’s Champion. Sure, she may have gotten an easy path to the top thanks to her relationship with Cena, but she made the most of the opportunity with some stellar in-ring work, even if she was hit-or-miss on the mic at best.
9. Brie Bella
Now you may be wondering why the Bella Twins weren’t put together for their inclusion in this list. They’ve been kept separate for one separate reason; they benefited by dating a top wrestler in very different ways. Brie Bella found her one true love during her time with WWE, Daniel Bryan. The two met and fell in love while traveling on the road and now have a wonderful family together. Brie isn’t nearly as good in the ring as Nikki is, as a matter of fact, her later runs were pretty sloppy and almost caused serious injuries to a couple of wrestlers who worked with her in matches. But Brie’s appeal in WWE had nothing to do with her in-ring work. By virtue of being Daniel Bryan’s wife, she became an integral part of the Yes Movement, often getting involved in his storylines and even adopting the Yes kicks, which would always get a nice pop from the crowd. Brie played the role of a face ever since she married Bryan in 2014, as he himself was one of the most beloved and revered wrestlers in the entire industry. She didn’t turn heel until October 2018, when she teamed up with Nikki to beat the living daylights out of Ronda Rousey. Like Nikki, Brie is retired too, but she can rest easy knowing she was one of the more popular performers in the division, even if her most popular move belonged to Daniel Bryan.
8. Michelle McCool
Michelle McCool was perhaps the most dominant performer in WWE’s Women’s Division back when they were all still called Divas. Alongside Layla, McCool pretty much dominated the entire women’s roster and booked way more strongly than anyone in the division was. All of this of course, coincided with her marriage to a man known as The Undertaker, maybe you’ve heard of him? McCool was always a good performer, but she became practically unbeatable in the last few years of her career. She dominated and decimated the opposition while somehow also playing the cowardly heel. But credit where credit is due; being given the opportunity is one thing, making the most of it is another. McCool was a strong performer between the ropes and always managed to get a reaction from audiences on the mic, which is a lot more than a lot of her colleagues could achieve when women’s wrestling was still being treated like a bathroom break in WWE. McCool continued her dominant run when she appeared in the inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble. McCool had a great showing at the Rumble, eliminating a total of five other wrestlers, ending the match with the most number of eliminations. McCool was doing just fine without ‘Taker, but being married to the most influential star of the last 25 years certainly must have helped her career.
7. Miss Elizabeth
Miss Elizabeth is the true First Lady of professional wrestling. She was one of the most famous faces in the industry for the entirety of the 80s and some of the 90s, and was in the middle of some of pro wrestling’s biggest stories and angles. This was a direct consequence of her being Macho Man Randy Savage’s real-life wife and on-screen manager and valet. Miss Elizabeth was central to some of the biggest moments in pro-wrestling, from the implosion of the Mega Powers, to her reuniting with Savage at Wrestlemania VII. In the minds of wrestling fans, Savage and Elizabeth were pretty much the ultimate pro wrestling couple, but things behind the scene were far from perfect. Elizabeth and Savage actually got divorced, before reuniting in WCW, with Elizabeth being Savage’s manager once more. Miss Elizabeth’s life came to a tragic end back in 2003. She may have found her end thanks to a combination of alcohol and pills, but in the eyes of any wrestling fan, she will always be Miss Elizabeth, one of the greatest women in the history of professional wrestling. Her legacy far exceeds her life.
Sunny is widely considered to be the original Diva in professional wrestling. One of the most charismatic performers of all time, Sunny wasn’t with WWE for a very long time, but she left a lasting impression on both the promotion and on audiences. Sunny had a bit of a reputation backstage as a woman who enjoyed bouncing from relationship to relationship. Sunny spent the beginning of her career as a heel, but around 1997 things began to change. She began playing the role of a face and over the next few months, she became the face of all of WWE’s promotional and publicity work. Putting it in simple terms, Sunny was literally made the face of WWE. Sunny’s run as the face of the company coincided with her indulging in a nine-month long relationship with Shawn Michaels. Michaels was one of the biggest stars in the company and Vince McMahon probably hoped that by turning Sunny face, his promotion would have the ultimate wrestling power couple. The experiment was relatively short-lived though, as Michaels turned heel, but Sunny had managed to leave a lasting impression on pretty much everyone by that time. Looking back, a lot of people might question why someone who spent only 3 years in the company was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, but Sunny’s contributions not only in the present but also the future more than warrant her inclusion.
Lita has had one of the most iconic careers in all of WWE, but it isn’t without its fair share of ups and downs. After a fun run with Team Xtreme, Lita was floundering in WWE, before she became one of the most hated figures in the industry, practically overnight. In 2005, news broke that Lita had cheated on her boyfriend, Matt Hardy with fellow WWE Superstar Edge. Things quickly go out of hand and Hardy was briefly fired from WWE, as Edge and Lita became a couple of the most hated figures of the modern era. Hardy was eventually re-hired and went on to feud with Edge, but he lost and got shipped off to Smackdown while Edge became WWE Champion. Lita stayed by the Ultimate Opportunist’s side up until her retirement in 2006 and regardless of how people feel about her and what she did, there is no denying that she deserved her Hall of Fame induction. Lita was an integral part of Edge’s act and neither would have thrived without the other in the company. So not only did Lita benefited from being with Edge, she did wonders for his career too.
The Ninth Wonder of the World is a once in a generation talent and the pro wrestling industry will probably never encounter someone like Chyna ever again. While Chyna is pretty much synonymous with D-Generation X, Chyna first rose to prominence as Triple H’s bodyguard back when he still had his blue-blood gimmick. Her impressive stature and ability to intimidate pretty much anyone made her a massive hit with audiences. Once DX got up and running, Chyna became one of the cornerstones of the faction and she maintained her position until things rapidly turned south. Everyone knows about Chyna’s fall from grace, so let’s not get into that. Chyna was reportedly brought in to WWE on Triple H’s recommendation, and together, they went from a promising mid card act, to one of the hottest acts in WWE during its most popular era.
Debra perhaps isn’t as memorable as some of the other inclusions on this list, but she left a strong impression in Vince McMahon’s company and had a high-profile relationship with ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin. Debra was already popular with audiences as Jeff Jarrett’s valet when he joined WWE in 1998. Debra did pretty much nothing over the course of her career, but still managed to have a strong run in WWE and was prominently featured in a number of high-profile segments and feuds. Since leaving WWE, Debra and Steve Austin have gotten a divorce and she was last reported to be getting a Masters in Criminal Justice.
Melina was not a popular figure backstage and had a bit of a habit of rubbing people the wrong way. Melina met John Morrison during auditions for Tough Enough and while Morrison eventually found his way into WWE, Melina wasn’t lucky. However, WWE decided to bring in Morrison’s real-life girlfriend Melina to play his ex-girlfriend. Over time, they actually teamed together and formed the popular tag-team MNM alongside Joey Mercury. Melina and Morrison ended up on different shows, as she went on to have multiple championship reigns.
1. Mickie James
Mickie James burst onto the scene as Trish Stratus stalker/nemesis and went on to have a strong career with the company. Over the course of her run on Raw, James had an affair with John Cena in 2008. It was a big enough deal for WWE to actually turn it into a storyline. That was arguably the zenith of James’ career in WWE, because once the relationship fell apart and John Cena got married in 2009, James ended up being shipped off to Smackdown, because she couldn’t handle working around Cena. Then of course, Piggy James happened and she was gone. Now that she’s back, she is in a much better place emotionally and has been playing the role of the veteran putting over young stars. Being with Cena not only benefited James’ career greatly, but it also resulted in her downfall, resulting in her release in 2010.